Making decisions is hard—ask any three-year-old in a Baskin Robbins. But even as you get older and you get better at making decisions, some choices seem to be harder to make than others. (Ask any 30-year-old in a Baskin Robbins.)
To help you navigate life, we’ve found the weirdest (and creepily helpful) ways to figure out what to do. Because Noah Calhoun is just SO right, you guys.
1. Play the Paper Game
I got this one from Christine Hassler, life coach, at a T.J. Maxx event focused on maximizing (hah, get it?) the decisions you make that matter to you most. Not gonna lie, I was skeptical—but it actually worked.
Here’s how it goes: List each possible choice you could make and the potential outcome of that choice on a separate piece of paper, then…
- Lay out each choice on the floor in front of you in a line with enough space between each one to stand in front of each choice.
- Moving from left to right, stand in front of the first choice and pause. Look at the choice and then step on top of the paper (symbolically you are stepping INTO that choice). Close your eyes and allow yourself to fully take on that choice. For a moment, commit fully to that option. See yourself making that choice and in the outcome of that choice. How does it feel? What is happening in your body? Where do your thoughts go? What pictures do you see?
- Repeat the process for the remaining pieces of paper (AKA the other choices)—whichever ultimately felt best is the one you should do.
2. Have Someone Tell You the Choice—Then Note What Your Body Does
Another one I learned from Hassler. This one’s tricky, since it’s kind of self-fulfilling, but you can try it out on friends who are having a hard time deciding something and become their favorite person. Basically, you have your friend think about or say each choice, and see which way they lean. Have them stand normally, with feet slightly together, and close their eyes. For example, if the choice was what to eat for breakfast, you can have them say each choice. “I’m going to eat eggs,” then, “I’m going to eat pancakes.” If they leaned in (i.e. if their body moved forward) that’s a good sign. If they leaned back, it generally means their intuition is against that choice. Either way, fun party trick, amirite?
3. Dim the Lights
We tend to feel more emotions (i.e. aren’t as objective) in bright light. So dim those lights and think about your decisions.
4. Make Your Decision Early in the Day
Decision fatigue is a real thing, and it changes how you choose (and what you choose) after you’ve already made choices throughout the day. Yes, even the mundane ones. The worst part—you’re not even aware that you’re mentally drained. So make those big decisions in the morning. Our recommendation? Do it before you’ve even picked an outfit.
5. Listen to Faster Music
A 2009 study found that those who listened to faster music made better and more accurate decisions when it came to hard decisions than those who listened to slower music. Time to cue up your Spotify. (Or if you’re Jay Z, your Tidal.)
You should also check out:
Decisions You Make in Your 20s That You Will Live With Forever
12 Lessons Guys Have Learned from Being Married
Should You Ever Get Back With Your Ex?